Pets & Farm animals: Love them all the same?

Guest Post By Farmer Leontien van de Laar

Sometimes people come to our large dairy and when we take them to see our cows, every now and then one of our cats will pop up and will literally beg for attention. Usually the question that follows after he (he’s huge and black) shows off is:

Do you have any pets?

My answer:  Yes we do.

And yes, there is a difference between our pets and our farm animals.

But it is not as black and white as some of our cows are… Or maybe it is.

We love our dog because no matter how bad of a day I have had, he is always happy to see me.

We love our cows because they provide food for 155 households in one day.

We love my horse, because I can hug and talk to him as long as I want and he always listens.

We love our cows because they provide food for 155 households in one day.

We love our cats because I can watch them for hours playing or chasing a leaf blown by the wind.

We love our cows because they provide food for 155 households in one day.

We spend 24 hours a day taking care of our cows: provide them with the best quality feed, make sure they are as comfortable as possible, milk them 3 times a day, have a hoof trimmer, nutritionist and veterinarian who come every week to check our cows.

In my opinion it’s simple; just because our cows are not in my house, I didn’t give them crazy made up names, or I don’t pet every single one of them, or I don’t have a special cushion on my sofa where she can lay down, or I don’t walk them 3 times a day, or buy toys for her to play with, it doesn’t mean I care less about our cows than I do our pets.

I love my cows because at the end of the day when I go home to my horse, dog and cats I KNOW our cows will provide food for 155 households the next day, and the next day and the next day– if I keep making sure they have the best possible life here on this large dairy.

So, every evening I go home and play a bit with my dog, hug my horse and watch the cats jump from one snow pile to the other and ponder about my day and the day to come, worrying about caring for our cows and worrying about how to provide for my family, because a farmers life isn’t easy…And later that evening I will wonder about the fact that I will see commercials on TV for DIET FOOD for dogs and why people still look at me (as a farmer), and think I’m the one who doing harm to animals.

 I love our pets, they are my pleasure.

But I love my cows more because they feed the world.

For me it’s black and white, like my cow Berta 1127.